How To Ask Fellow Designer For Native Files For Prepress Purposes Only?

I am the graphic designer and sole prepress person for a small quick print shop. I often come across issues with a file to be printed and cannot make the needed changes or compensations as they arise due to the file hand-off from the clients’ designer. For example, we use EFI Fiery Command Workstation to print our jobs and it sometimes misinterprets .PDF files, especially element-heavy files created in InDesign which uses transparencies, and results in a loss of elements. Or, the client is requesting the printed file to match a certain existing copy which requires color correction to mimic the final… Even if the desired customer copy in question was printed with the colors over-saturated and blown out (“We want people to know how bright the place is” was her defense…)

I often come to issues with the clients’ designer because they do not want to give me the native files. I understand the value of native files to a designer, and that the contract may not include the hand-off of the working files. However, I am not their client — I am just someone in the process of making sure their printed work looks best for their client. I am the PREPRESS person trying to make sure THEIR client is happy with their printed piece.

How should I communicate to the designer that I need their native files for prepress purposes ONLY? Is that even acceptable? We have missed deadlines in the past for our clients because their designer cannot make the needed changes in time, or does it incorrectly, or not at all.

It’s driving me nuts!

Thank you!


I can’t speak for everyone, but I generally have no issue providing files for press. I do not provide native files to clients for free.

Perhaps the issue is the client is your middle-man. Any client asking for files is met with a pretty standard “they aren’t free, see the contract” response. Any press house asking for files is treated differently. If you could contact the designer directly, they may be more open to the request.

I customarily ask any press department to sign an agreement stating they will not store, backup, or retain any aspects of the native files – such as images, fonts, etc. in addition to not provide them to the client if requested. Fonts particularly are dependent upon other licenses. Most fonts allow transfer for reproduction, but not all fonts do.

Perhaps contact the designer directly with such an agreement ready for them.

Source : Link , Question Author : user32595 , Answer Author : Scott

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